Broadcast Day

Today was broadcast day, despite not going live until the evening my day was completely hectic and did not stop. The final elements of the set were brought together in the morning just hours before rehearsals began, this was simply due to the time scale available for Lewys and I to dedicate to turning over a project so quickly.

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I started the day finishing assembling the desk as yesterday I had painted one last coat, leaving them to dry overnight. I started by securing the LED strip lighting to the back of the V shape prior to fastening it to the desk. Once completed I was then able to drill a hold through the desk to feed the lights, then drilling a further two holes in the top to run a strip along the width of the desk.

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With the LED strips secured I then nailed the V into place on the desk. In order to power the desk I cut a slit in the astro turf to run an extension cord under the turf floor so it would be concealed from shot.

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Whilst I waited on the letters from Lewys I went ahead and drilled 12mm holes in the Varsity letter outlines ready for the LED strips to be fed through. At the time I had the idea that if the letters weren’t complete in time I could have drilled some further holes to outline the letters then shine a 2K Arri through. This didn’t matter as shortly after Lewys showed up with the letters and wooden dowels to offset them from the back board.

To fasten the letters we drilled each dowel into the back board, then used strong acrylic glue to secure each letter to its set of dowels. After leaving them time to set I was then able to thread the LED strips through the board so the letters could be illuminated. Following this Lewys had to dash off so I was left pulling together the final fine tune elements.

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By this point Alex (Lighting Assistant) had arrived so I had him fine tune the lighting in relation to the final build. I gave him director as to how I wanted the lights positioned then he went off a executed the plans perfectly. We also had to set up the lighting for the green screen element of the studio, this went relatively well but I am not 100% happy with the final execution as we struggled with light spill and ran out of time to fix this due to the last minute addition of the green screen element.

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Alex and I also went through the studio floor space and substituted fresnels for softboxes. I was concerned at the amount of shadows being cast on the studio floor for the wides, having tweaked with the lighting position I felt the easiest solution would be softer light sources. Some fresnels were still used to help pop out the presenters but the majority of the rig became softboxes for even coverage without shadow.

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I feel if I wasn’t juggling two intensive roles in the project I could have ensured each element was done flawlessly. The green screen fell short for lighting whilst the joins in the backboards fell short on the set design. Despite these minor problems I am extremely proud of what I managed to pull together, the vital elements to the entire production, possible with help from Lewys (Set Designer), James (Set Build) and Alex (Lighting Assistant).

Shortly into rehearsals Jake (Director)went through lighting cues with me, simply fading the lights in and out at the start and the end of the broadcast. I liked the inclusion of this element as it allowed the entire LED lit studio to be seen by the audience, the one truly stylistic element to the otherwise generic studio lighting format.

In terms of the LED strips the original plan for them to glow red was scrapped as they didn’t show up too well on the cameras. I liked the idea of using blue as it contrasted nicely against the red/maroon, but in the end Jake, Alex and I settled on a combination of red and blue LEDs.

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The final broadcast wasn’t clean cut, but I am extremely happy with the elements I contributed. I have highlighted what fell short, but in relation to everything that was achieved in the set and lighting department I can only see the positives of the project. It has been a lot of stuff happening in such a short space of time, I’ve had to pump in a hell of a lot more effort than I thought I would to the reformatted project, but it has been all worthwhile standing in the studio and seeing the design physically standing there. It’s going to be a real shame to have to take it down tomorrow.

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